We don’t always count grace among the most common of Christmas gifts, but it may be one of the greatest gifts we have been given. Grace is often misunderstood and perhaps underutilized by Latter-day Saints. We are used to hearing our Christian friends and neighbors frequently speak of grace, but we may not understand what it means to us as Latter-day Saints.
In this episode of All In, host Jamie Armstrong chats with author and speaker Brad Wilcox, who believes that grace is a doctrine of the Restoration that Latter-day Saints understand in its fullness.
JA: I know this time of year, as we think about the Savior, we always think about His gift of the Atonement. But He also offers us the gift of grace. Can you explain the basics for us? What is grace?
BW: Grace is one of those crazy words in English that has about a million definitions. It can mean elegance and beauty. It can mean courtesy and kindness. It can be a prayer, or “saying grace.” It can be a title, “Your Grace.” It can even be a salutation like we read in the New Testament, “Grace be unto you.” So it has lots of meanings, but if you go back to the original Hebrew from which the word that we use as grace was translated, it means favor or goodwill, given with compassion. So no wonder Christians grab that word to describe God’s favor, God’s good will, given with God’s compassion. But Latter-day Saints are unique because we realize that grace isn’t just a description of God’s attributes. It’s actually how He engages with us. It’s His invitation to engage with us. It’s the power He shares with us as we strive to make those attributes our own.
JA: This isn’t a new doctrine, but it feels like we’re talking about grace a lot more than we used to. I grew up in the Church, and I don’t remember learning about grace.
BW: Well, you’re right. It’s not a new doctrine. I remember after listening to the devotional I gave at BYU on this topic, an Evangelical minister contacted me and said, “I’m so glad you’re adopting the Evangelical doctrine of grace.” And I wrote him back and I said, “Actually, we’re not.” This is not an Evangelical doctrine that we are finally adopting. This is a doctrine of the Restoration. The Book of Mormon is filled with grace, the hymns are filled with grace, conference talks are filled with grace, so it’s not a new doctrine. I think it’s like many doctrines of the Restoration. We enjoy a fullness of understanding, and while we may not have always used the word grace, this is definitely a doctrine of the Restoration, and we understand it in its fullness.